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Salary Negotiations

If you have finally been offered the job you want but are disappointed in the salary and benefits on offer, you have some sensitive negotiating to do.Most employers will approach the offer of employment with some flexibility, after all, they want the right person for the job. However, negotiating the package is a delicate process. If you demand too much you might not get the job or over inflate your new employer’s expectations of you. Settling for too little will also affect the way they think about you: finding the correct level can be difficult.

DO:

  • Go back to your career plan. Does this job fit into that plan, and if not do you really want it?
  • Work out what level of salary you need to make the job worthwhile or even affordable. Don’t forget extra costs you might incur from changing jobs such as the cost of commuting to work, loss of company pension, childcare, relocation costs.
  • If you are expecting your new employer to match or improve on your existing earnings then include all your benefits plus imminent bonuses or pay rises when calculating your current salary
  • Be prepared to negotiate on some of the benefits – for example, if you don’t want the car, then can you have a cash equivalent instead? Some firms are flexible about other benefits too. Research from Hewitt Associates suggests that two in three employers either operate a flexible benefits policy or are considering it
  • If you have to move house to take the job, ask if there is help with relocation costs, even if it has not been previously mentioned
  • Ask your prospective employer to honour any holidays or time off you have arranged
  • Be realistic about salary offers – ask for much more than the original offer and you appear greedy and out of touch
  • If you think another, preferable job offer is imminent then you need to buy time without annoying possible employers.
  • Tell your preferred employer about this job offer – it could help them speed up a decision (although not necessarily in your favour)
  • Be fair to your current employer when negotiating a leaving date. You may want a route back in if the new job goes pear-shaped, and it is always preferable to leave on good terms

DON’T:

  • Resign until you have an offer you can accept in writing
  • Forget that it will still be dependent on good references – usually from your current boss
  • Lie about your current salary. A new employer can find out your real worth from your P45
  • Take the first thing that comes your way. If you are in a position to turn it down and have any doubts about the job then don’t take it. If you feel you must take the job, then don’t be surprised if you have to start the job hunting all over again in a few months